Students should oppose Social Security privatization

 

To the Daily:

Social Security is probably not something that most students think about. Retirement is a long time away and even then you hope that you will have been successful enough not to depend exclusively on Social Security benefits, especially because you are now investing in an education from one the country’s best universities. So the recent talk about President Bush’s plan to privatize Social Security may seem more relevant to workers without college educations and people about to retire. However, students concerned with how we as a society treat those needing assistance should oppose the privatization of the program.

Social Security is based on the idea that we have a moral obligation to care for the elderly, disabled and disadvantaged who cannot take care of themselves. Bush’s plan would turn this idea on its head and would turn something called Social Security into “personal risk” by having workers put their payroll taxes in the stock market. Considering that the program was created in response to the biggest stock market crash in history, it’s pretty stupid to make the program rely on the market when it is supposed to protect you from the unreliability of the market. Making investments is fine, but in the event of an economic downturn, people shouldn’t have to spend their golden years in poverty, which was the case before Social Security was in place. Private accounts would leave little for individuals to live off of if they make bad investments.

Social Security is not about you saving money for yourself. It’s about ensuring financial security now for those who cannot work so that when you are in that position you will be provided for as well. Privatization undermines the social responsibility and financial security of all involved. Since its inception, Social Security has kept millions out of poverty by providing a guaranteed safety net and protecting them from the whims of an unpredictable economic system, not forcing them to suffer the consequences. In the coming weeks, Bush will embark upon a massive campaign to convince the public that Social Security, a program that practically pays for itself, is going bankrupt, not because of the soaring deficits, tax cuts or the surplus he gave away to the rich, but because of some as of yet unknown reason. Don’t let him mislead the public yet again into more mistakes.

David Guzman

LSA senior

 

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